Previous government office accommodation processes, in which agencies generally decided where and how to accommodate themselves, were not always delivering best value outcomes for Government. A more strategic approach to planning and a coordinated whole-of-government approach to implementation of accommodation and fit-outs has the potential to deliver significant savings.
In June 2009, the Treasurer endorsed the Works Reform Business Solution Plan which included some key recommendations for government office accommodation:
that agencies be required to include a 10 year office accommodation plan as part of their annual capital investment plan
that Building Management and Works be given a new leadership role in the development of business cases and office accommodation programs, using a Master Planning approach
that Building Management and Works review existing government office accommodation policies and develop a suite that aligns with the total portfolio approach.
These principles were subsequently endorsed by Cabinet and Building Management and Works has been progressing these recommendations.
Implementation of the Master Planning approach
In March 2010, Cabinet approved the objectives, principles and first steps in the implementation of the Master Planning approach to Government office accommodation.
Master Planning for future Government office accommodation aims to:
reduce the overall ongoing cost of Government office accommodation through decentralisation from the CBD; consolidation to fewer buildings; and new fitout standards.
support Government service delivery, through improved community access to Government agencies, enhanced agency collaboration, and the provision of more efficient, effective and sustainable workplaces.
support the Western Australian Planning Commission’s Directions 2031 Draft Spatial Framework for Perth and Peel, particularly in regard to the development of metropolitan activity centres on rail routes and increased utilisation of public transport.
support future machinery of Government reforms, through more efficient and cost effective agency restructuring and associated office relocations.
The principles of Government office accommodation master planning are to:
decentralise Government office accommodation from the CBD and CBD fringe.
consolidate remaining Perth CBD and CBD fringe Government office accommodation.
locate new Government office accommodation in metropolitan activity centres.
co-locate Government agencies in regional towns.
adhere to the policy of 15 square metres of floor space per person.
standardise office fit-outs and share facilities in major buildings.
enhance environmental sustainability of Government office buildings.
The first phase of master planning focussed on the decentralisation and consolidation of government office accommodation between 2010 and 2012, working with agencies to relocate almost 5000 public servants from 18 locations and 23 agencies into 80,000 sqm of office accommodation in Gordon Stephenson House and the neighbouring heritage buildings, Optima Centre in Herdsman Park, and the refurbished Government owned Albert Facey House, Dumas House and Office of the Premier and Cabinet Room, and part of 151 Royal Street.
Recently Minister Simon O’Brien announced the next steps in the Master Planning approach to government office accommodation. Information on the next phase is available at Master Planning 2012-18.
Government offices open to new opportunities
The nature of office work is changing from autonomous, individual processes to collaborative knowledge-based work, immediate information and quick decision-making. Our physical environment is changing to accommodate these efficient, contemporary work processes.
The State Government has embraced this new way of working and through the Government Office Accommodation Master Plan is relocating agencies into consolidated buildings with open plan office designs.
The new office environment promotes the easy flow of communication through the organisation and knowledge sharing becomes automatic. Formal meeting rooms, informal break-out areas or even shared kitchen space promote flexible meeting opportunities according to need.
Flexibility is a key feature to this design, the removal of physical walls and large storage areas allowing for more adaptable use of space for all staff.